Some staff members from the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University were critical of both founder Ibram X. Kendi and the decision to lay off several employees after the news broke earlier this month.
On Thursday, Boston University confirmed to Fox News Digital that at least 15 staffers have been laid off at the center as part of an “evolving” process.
“The Center is evolving to a fellowship model. Dr. Kendi remains the Director. We can confirm that there were layoffs at the Center. The University and Center are committed to working with and supporting affected employees as they look for their next opportunities,” Boston University PR Associate Vice President Rachel Lapal Cavallario said in a statement.
By Friday, some members of both the Boston University and the Center for Antiracist Research’s staff began voicing their displeasure at the news, suggesting deeper issues beyond a new “fellowship model.”
“There are a number of ways it got to this point, it started very early on when the university decided to create a center that rested in the hands of one human being, an individual given millions of dollars and so much authority,” Spencer Piston, faculty lead of the center’s policy office, told the Boston Globe.
The “one human being” likely refers to Kendi, who will continue to serve as the center’s director.
Former assistant director of narrative at the center, Saida Grundy, also described a lack of structure, leading to her working extra hours.
“It became very clear after I started that this was exploitative and other faculty experienced the same and worse,” Grundy told the Boston Globe.
The “teams” page for the center on Boston University’s website is currently down and has been down since Tuesday according to the Internet Archive. A snapshot of the page from July showed the center had employed approximately 45 staffers.
Kendi was hired by Boston University as a history professor in June 2020, during the height of protests and riots after George Floyd’s death. Shortly afterward, Kendi announced the movement of his antiracist research center from American University, where he previously taught, to Boston University, where he currently sits as the center’s director.
Kendi rose to prominence over the last few years for his defense of critical race theory as well as teaching racial concepts to children. He has published several books on the subject of racism including “How to Be an Anti-Racist” and the children’s book “Antiracist Baby.”
Boston University did not respond to a request for comment.
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